• InterContinental sells ahead of schedule

InterContinental has sold 24 European hotels, representing 4,903 rooms, to Westbridge Hospitality Fund, a subsidiary of Westmont.

The Eu352m deal was struck ahead of schedule, with the assets only being placed on the market earlier this year with an expected disposal timetable of up to nine months.

The hotels have been sold with 15-year franchise contracts. The fees are expected to be about Eu4m. EBITDA was Eu28m in 2005 and this translates to an EV/EBITDA multiple of 12.3 times after transaction costs.

Still on the market are seven InterContinentals in Europe, likely to go for £350m. The frontrunner for this portfolio is Egal Ahouvi, the Israeli businessman that bought 16 Hiltons for nearly £400m and is tipped to buy the 46 UK Marriotts currently up for sale.

InterContinental, meanwhile, is pushing forward with its management and franchise business. Last week it signed a deal to take that will mark the debut of its Crowne Plaza brand in Russia.

The 572-room Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre, originally built in 1980, is to undergo extensive renovation.

And the company is also reportedly looking at operating a $800m resort in Orlando, Florida, under its flagship InterContinental brand. The Wall Street Journal said that the development will be called Palazzo del Lago and will include 1,260 rooms, almost half of which will be available to buy by investors on a buy-to-let basis.

There will also be 994 conventional condo apartments on opening, which is scheduled for 2009. The owner and developer of the resort is Hospitality Development Corp. The property will be the third InterContinental managed project featuring a residential component. The other two are in Boston, opening later this year, and one in Sacramento due to open in 2008.

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